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Robot Eavesdrops on Men and Women to See How Much They Talk

By New Scientist

March 17, 2017

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Researchers at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden have developed Furhat, a robotic head that analyzes how people interact with each other, with the goal of discovering inequalities in people's participation when working on a shared activity.

The researchers studied 540 people over nine days, and found pairs of women spoke for 45%of the time on average, compared with only 26% of the time for pairs of men. However, when women were paired with men, the amount of speaking time was 28%, with each gender sharing the time about equally. The researchers found this pattern only holds for adults, as gender was not found to make much difference in how much children interact.

They also found when Furhat directly addressed the less-dominant speaker, they were more likely to speak.

The research was presented this month at the 2017 Conference on Human-Robot Interaction (HRI 2017) in Vienna, Austria.

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